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1916 The Irish Rebellion

Posted by WMHT Web Editor on


Watch Thursdays at 10pm April 7 -21 & Sunday, April 24, 2016 beginning at 2pm on WMHT TV

Narrated by Liam Neeson, this landmark documentary tells the dramatic story of the events that took place in Dublin during Easter Week 1916, when a small group of Irish rebels took on the might of the British Empire. The documentary – featuring a combination of rarely seen archival footage, new segments filmed on location worldwide, and interviews with leading international experts – also uncovers the untold story of the central role Irish Americans played in the lead-up to the rebellion. Although defeated militarily, the men and women of the Easter Rising would wring a moral victory from the jaws of defeat and inspire countless freedom struggles throughout the world – from Ireland to India.

An initiative of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame, this documentary tells the story of the 1916 Easter Rising in a comprehensive way and, for the first time, places these events in their proper historical, political and cultural context as the precursor to an independent Irish state and the disintegration of colonial empires worldwide.

Episode One: Awakening | Thursday, April 7 at 10pm & Sunday, April 24 at 2pm

Episode One is crucial in setting up the context for the dramatic story of the events of Easter Week 1916. Here, the audience is introduced to the main characters and the main players of Easter Week on all sides and, through them, are made aware of the political and cultural currents playing out in Ireland, Europe, and the world—including the role of Empire, the outbreak of the first World War, the rise of socialist, feminist and nationalist thought /self determination. Episode 1 will bring viewers up to the cusp of Easter week itself.

Episode Two: Insurrection | Thursday, April 14 at 10pm & Sunday, April 24 at 3pm

Episode Two examines the events of Easter Week 1916 on a day-to-day basis. Through the use of graphics and contributions from military historians, viewers are provided with both an insight into particular locations, such as the General Post Office, as well as a clear, overall view of the state of play in Dublin. They will also hear—via archival material that has been rarely seen or heard—from the voices of participants: rebels, British soldiers, and civilian witnesses.  Viewers will experience as far as possible what it was like to be an eyewitness to these events.

Episode Three: When Myth and History Rhyme | Thursday, April 21 at 10pm & Sunday, April 24 at 4pm

The third and final episode deals with the surrender and subsequent executions of the leaders of the Irish Rebellion and the fundamental changes arising from these events. The aim is to have viewers experience the same emotional response as did the men and women of the time—which is accomplished through first-person narratives, descriptions of the executions, and the last statements of the leaders.  Doing so allows viewers to understand the sea change that occurred in Ireland in the aftermath of the Rising. Contributors to the series will pose questions and analyze the significance of the events of Easter Week 1916—both in Ireland itself but also throughout the world. Finally, the legacy of  the 1916 Irish Rebellion is analyzed and the question is explored how, still, it remains of significance to people worldwide.